|By Business Wire
|February 12, 2013 07:12 AM EST
Using real-world data from eight network operators across four
continents, a new study by Actix reveals how the
dynamic interplay of people, places and devices is impacting mobile
networks across the world. It highlights the critical importance of
accurate customer handset and location data for targeting network
investments, improving customer experience where it matters and coping
with the influx of new devices.
Performance and the radio access network
Smartphones on 3G networks spend almost 85% of their active time
generating data traffic, and only 10% of it on voice. The radio access
network is responsible for between 80-85% of poor quality voice whilst
data sessions in congested areas often fall below video-ready speeds.
LTE networks deliver on performance claims but the real challenge will
come when these networks become heavily loaded.
“The data performance on today’s network varies greatly and is far
behind the high speeds that handsets are capable of reaching,” commented
Neil Coleman, Director of Marketing at Actix. “There’s a lot of demand
from users for fast data rates but handset technology is advancing much
more quickly than the networks can deliver.”
The average smartphone in a person’s pocket is 18 months old and those
with newer phones generate much more data. Apple subscribers use more
data, and more data per session, than Android, with Blackberry users
consuming 50% less data than Android and 30% less than Apple.
“If existing Blackberry customers switched to Apple or Android, mobile
traffic would increase by 20%,” added Coleman. “As early adopters
move to the latest devices they put extra strain on the network and with
more people switching from BlackBerry this will only continue.”
Only one in five of locations are responsible for 80% of network
traffic and just 5% are responsible for over half of traffic, with these
high traffic areas typically less than 30-100m2 in size. In addition,
15% of locations are responsible for 85% of all customer experience
Across an entire network, outdoor usage is still high but indoor usage
(of voice and data) is gaining and in many congested areas indoor usage
“Data rates drop off by as much as 50% when users go indoors,” said
Coleman. “The area also affects the demand placed on the network, for
example social media usage is highest in tourist areas, where data
connections are busiest between 20:00 and 21:00. Many locations are busy
a lot of the time, but areas with the highest levels of demand peak only
for two short periods each day, such as transport hubs and central
business districts. There’s no blanket solution to this for operators.”
The market is made up of smartphones; basic handsets are rapidly losing
market share and alternative devices such as dongles, tablets and Mi-Fi
are a minority. Mature operators are seeing market penetration reaching
66% and network data suggests over 80% of all downloaded data is from
While smartphones make 3-10 data connections per hour of use, 60-70% of
data sessions are less than 50 Kbytes in size and Actix estimates less
than 30% of these data sessions are user initiated. Every new generation
of smartphone adds 20% more data per subscriber and smartphones released
in 2012 generate 2.5 times more traffic per subscriber than those
released in 2009.
“The Apple iPhone 4Gs is the definitive 3G smartphone in terms of mobile
experience, usage and subscriber adoption,” added Coleman. “It remains
to be seen if Apple can reach the same highs again.”
Other insights into device usage, include:
Tablets and dongles are more impacted by capacity issues than basic
and feature phones
Tablet usage is miniscule compared to smartphones, despite around 115
million tablet devices having been sold according to Forrester Research
Bill McHale, CEO of Actix, comments: “Our annual study reveals the
importance of understanding the interplay between people, places and
devices on the network. Never before has the network comprised such a
range of complex elements, as operators look to transition to LTE,
manage increasingly demanding user expectations and optimize for an
ever-growing number of devices.
“By studying a significant number of active operator networks across the
world, this report delivers a comprehensive analysis of today’s mobile
networks and the challenges operators face. Through understanding the
network subscriber, where they are and the device they are using,
operators can radically improve their network quality through targeted
investment, optimization and SON.”
The Actix report, “The State of the RAN: How people, places and
devices are shaping today’s customer experience and tomorrow’s radio
access networks,” is available on request from [email protected].
- ends -
Actix is the recognized global leader in mobile RAN analytics and
optimization, providing the world’s operators and vendors with
actionable subscriber, network and competitive intelligence to realize
the full potential of their networks.
Founded in 1991, Actix has built an unrivalled customer base of over 400
operators and equipment vendors who use its award winning solutions to
rollout LTE on time, improve customer experience in the RAN and optimize
multi-vendor 2G, 3G and 4G networks.
Actix has been a driving force in transforming the world’s mobile
networks, delivering cutting-edge, carrier-proven solutions that are the
de facto standard. With offices across Europe, North America, Latin
America, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, China and Japan, Actix can
offer the scale and global perspective that is critical in today’s
dynamic mobile landscape.
For more information, visit www.actix.com
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